Nikki Haley, Stumping in Iowa, Suggests Trump’s the Past and She’s the Future

URBANDALE, Iowa – Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley brought her freshly minted campaign for president to Iowa Monday evening, telling a town hall crowd in suburban Des Moines that she’s the candidate who’s got the experience and the energy — and the competency — to lead.

The Republican and former ambassador to the United Nations under President Donald Trump didn’t spare her old boss in her headline-grabbing call for a competency test for elected officeholders over the age of 75.

“That’s not being disrespectful, that’s transparency,” Haley told a packed room at Royal Flooring, an Urbandale business that served as site of the GOP presidential candidate’s first town hall in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.

“Elected officials work for the people, not the other way around,” Haley said, picking again at U.S. Sen. Bernie Senders (I-VT), who, at 81, called Haley’s cognition test proposal “absurd” and “ageism)

“Bernie Sanders lost his mind yesterday. For those of you defensive about it, you are exactly the reason we need [a competency test],” Haley said to applause.

While Haley said Trump is her friend and that the former president was the right man for the job when he was elected, she told the town hall event, sponsored by the Republican Party of Dallas County, that it’s time to move on.

“All the media and everybody wants to talk about the past. We need to leave the status quo in the past. We’ve got work to do. We’ve got to look forward,” the former ambassador said when asked by a member of the crowd why should Iowans vote for her over the Republican synonymous with “draining the swamp.”

“This is bigger than a person. And we need to fight for that,” Haley said, suggesting that Trump, set to turn 77 in June, may not be up to the job. “We need to make sure we’ve got the energy and the power and the ability to bring more people in that will see that our solutions are the right ones, because we believe in lifting up everybody, not a select few.”

Trump announced his bid for another term in November, just days after the midterm elections.

A recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found a majority of Republicans surveyed didn’t pick either Trump or Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as their choice for president. DeSantis has yet to declare his candidacy, but the popular governor is considered by many pundits as Trump’s top rival. Those polled didn’t have a clear alternative to Trump and DeSantis.

The 51-year-old Haley sounded polished, if not rehearsed, repeating the conservative themes and talking points she delivered in her campaign launch in home state South Carolina last week, and again in New Hampshire a day later. This time, she took a half dozen or so questions from a town hall crowd after making her case for the highest office in the land. She is scheduled to hold another town hall event Tuesday in Marion, IA, near Cedar Rapids, the Hawkeye State’s second largest city.

She bashed the common political enemy of conservatives, President Joe Biden, hitting the Democrat and his administration on the illegal immigration crisis, the fentanyl scourge, inflation, the spread of socialism and a cultural war that has deeply divided Americans.

“One threat over everything I’ve told you that we absolutely have to fix: a national self-loathing has taken over our country, the idea that people are now saying America is bad or rotten to the core or racist,” Haley said. “Let me tell you from the first minority female governor in the country, America is not a racist country. It’s not.”

Haley, an Indian-American born in South Carolina to immigrant parents form Punjab, India, said Biden’s porous border policies have made a mockery of U.S. immigration laws, and are an insult to immigrants like her parents who came to the United States “the right way.”

Curiously, not one Iowan in the crowd asked Haley about her thoughts on ethanol and other biofuels, a critical component to the economy of a state known for its golden cornfields. But ethanol might not be as important a campaign issues in Iowa as it once was. Ask U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who in 2016 won Iowa’s Republican caucuses, beating Trump, despite his opposition to ethanol subsidies.

Haley received a warm welcome from Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, who told her fellow Republicans a fatal mistake people have made with Haley over her long and successful career in politics is underestimating her.

“I’m really proud to see you jump into this race,” she said in introducing Haley. “The No. 1 priority of this party is to make sure we take back the White House and I’m looking forward to hearing how Nikki Haley plans to do just that.”

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M.D. Kittle is the National Political Editor for The Star News Network.
Headline photo “Nikki Haley Campaigns in Iowa” by Nikki Haley.  Photos and video “Nikki Haley in Iowa” by M.D. Kittle.



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2 Thoughts to “Nikki Haley, Stumping in Iowa, Suggests Trump’s the Past and She’s the Future”

  1. Mary Lee Lander

    I was raised by two wonderful transgender parents whom I’ve made very proud. It gladdens my heart that Nikki Haley is out there promoting transparency.